I got to fill out my ballot and drop it off yesterday at the county elections office.
What a thrill to vote! And to vote for my own bad self.
But, I confess, voting was a little bit of a letdown. My bubble on the ballot stood there solo. No one running against me or running alongside me. Just me. I’ve learned this single candidate single winner race is called a walkover.
Running for city council without opposition is, of course, a blessing. It’s less stressful. It’s cheaper. You get to focus on one thing: Connecting with people about issues you care about. When you’re the only one running, you set the agenda.
Running without opposition is also a curse. There is no counterpoint, no friction. There are no debates. Most importantly, there is no choice for voters. When there’s a walkover, the people lose. There are four open seats on the Fairview city council in November – and only one of those seats is contested. On my entire ballot, one in five races were uncontested. Put another way, 20 percent of the time, I didn’t have a choice when it comes to choosing the judges who serve in my courts, the mayors and city councilors who manage public safety, parks, and what gets built here, or the conservation-minded folks who look out for my soil and water. This is a national problem. According to Ballotepedia, in the 2019 general election, an average of 25 percent of seats nationwide were uncontested.
I’m campaign like I’ve got an opponent anyway. I built this website, bought a newspaper ad, created social media accounts, filled out the candidate forms, took part in candidate forums. Most importantly, I’m out there dropping fliers and have hit over 1,000 homes. When I’m done, I will have dropped at most homes in all the major neighborhoods in Fairview. Delivering my message – and my contact information – right to people’s doors is the best way I can think to connect safely with people right now.
Even running solo, I’m humbled by this race. Campaigning takes a lot of energy, determination, and organization to run – and even more to serve. If I do run for office again, I really do hope there’s competition. I’ll take it as a good sign.